The Codex Leicester: Exhibition Preview
What is the Codex?
Leonardo recorded his thoughts and ideas on sheets of paper, filling more than 10,000 sheets with drawings and observations in his lifetime. He wrote backwards, from right to left, and his letters are reversed, because he was left-handed and writing this way kept his sleeve out of the wet ink.
The word “codex” means a bound manuscript, created by folding a stack of pages down the middle and sewing a binding along the fold. It was the earliest form of a book. Written around 1508-1510, the Codex Leicester (pronounced “Lester”) is comprised of 18 double-page, double-sided sheets, making 72 pages in total. He worked on one individual sheet at a time, filling its four pages in a backwards sequence, so that the last page he filled, confusingly, would be the first a reader would encounter if the Codex was read in the usual manner.
After his death in 1519, others organized his sheets and bound them together. This is how the Codex Leicester came into being. It has been restored to its unbound state and proper order, the way Leonardo originally created it.
Leonardo da Vinci
Courtesy Bill Gates / ©bgC3
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